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Trump classified docs trial date expected to move. Here’s what each side wants

Click to play video: 'Donald Trump supporters unfazed by his legal troubles: ‘You can still be president in jail’'
Donald Trump supporters unfazed by his legal troubles: ‘You can still be president in jail’
WATCH: Donald Trump supporters unfazed by his legal troubles: 'You can still be president in jail' – Feb 23, 2024

Federal prosecutors are requesting a July 8 trial for former president Donald Trump on charges that he illegally retained and concealed classified documents. Defense lawyers say no trial should be conducted this year but proposed August 12 as an alternative possibility.

The dueling proposals were submitted Thursday ahead of a pivotal hearing in Florida at which the judge in the case, Aileen Cannon, is expected to set a trial date. The trial is currently set for May 20, but Cannon indicated months ago that she expected to revisit that date during Friday’s hearing.

The trial date in the classified documents prosecution has taken on added significance in light of the uncertainty surrounding a separate federal case in Washington charging Trump with scheming to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The Supreme Court said this week that it would hear arguments in late April on whether Trump as a former president is immune from prosecution, leaving it unclear whether that case might reach trial before the November election.

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In their motion, defense lawyers made clear to Cannon their strong preference to avoid a trial in the current year while Trump — who faces four separate state and federal prosecutions — is campaigning for the Republican nomination for president.

Click to play video: 'U.S. Supreme Court to hear Trump’s presidential immunity appeal in April'
U.S. Supreme Court to hear Trump’s presidential immunity appeal in April

A key element of the Trump team strategy has been to seek to delay his criminal cases until after the election. If elected president, Trump could order the Justice Department to dismiss the federal cases or could seek to pardon himself.

“As the leading candidate in the 2024 election, President Trump strongly asserts that a fair trial cannot be conducted this year in a manner consistent with the Constitution, which affords President Trump a Sixth Amendment right to be present and to participate in these proceedings as well as…a First Amendment right that he shares with the American people to engage in campaign speech,” defense lawyers wrote.

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But they proposed August 12 — weeks after the Republican National Convention — as a possible alternative trial date in the event Cannon seeks to move forward with a trial this year.

Defense lawyers have separately asked Cannon to dismiss the case, citing among other reasons the immunity argument that will soon be considered by the Supreme Court.

Of the four criminal cases that Trump faces, the only one with a trial date that seems poised to hold is a New York state prosecution charging him with falsifying business records in connection with hush money payments to a porn star. That case is set for trial on March 25.

Another case, brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, charges him with scheming to subvert the presidential election in Georgia in 2020. No trial date has been set.

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